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UTS researchers trial new ORC

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ORC project manager Emily Allen

A new standard observation and response chart could provide better patient outcomes in Australian hospitals.
University of Technology Sydney researchers will pilot the observation and response chart (ORC) at 10 health care sites across Australia, ranging from metropolitan hospitals to rural area health services, after receiving $563,000 in funding from the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care.
The new chart aims to improve the way patient deterioration and medical emergencies are managed.
Project director Professor Doug Elliott said the ORC would provide clear and concise information for hospital staff to respond to changes in a patient’s condition, based on their signs and symptoms.
The chart will feature a range of criteria, allowing staff to choose from a series of pre-defined responses.
"Unlike current observational charts, the benefit of these new ORCs is that the escalation process is clearly displayed on the form," he said. 
"When a patient shows signs of clinical deterioration, the form provides a simple guide to actions that need to be taken in response."
The pilot project, due for completion in June next year, will test five ORC versions and could be the beginning of a new standardised ORC chart for clinical health care settings.
ORC project manager Emily Allen said after the trial, the charts would be available to all Australian hospitals interested in introducing an evidence-based observation and response chart.
"Early recognition of clinical deterioration along with prompt and effective action can reduce the occurrence of adverse events which in turn could have a significant impact on improving patient outcomes within the health care sector," she said.
"The Observation and Response Chart project is an essential piece of research that will help us understand how effective the ORC is in the clinical environment."
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